E-scooters are seemingly everywhere — and they’re choking the sidewalks of all the cities they’ve dominated. It’s this haphazard parking habit that has legislators in the nation’s various municipalities wringing their hands in anguish over what to do about the pervasive mobility devices.
There’s a new startup that aims to solve more than just the e-scooter clutter. More than sock the rideshare scooters away, Swiftmile wants to charge them, too.
It’s developed a semi-dockless station solution about the size of a standard parking spot that can accommodate up to 24 e-scooters. These docks not only get e-scooters secured and out of the way of pedestrians and give them a bit of solar-powered juice. It can download usage and condition data of the scooters as well.
The company believes that providing these semi-dockless parking and charging areas would be most beneficial if they make parking available for 25% of a city’s total e-scooter fleet.
Swiftmile wants to provide solutions for users, cities, and e-scooter brands. In terms of benefit for e-scooter brands, these docks could provide cost savings.
“The [e-scooter] companies spend 50% of their operating costs on getting these things charged,” Swiftmile co-founder and CEO Colin Roche told CityLab. A reduction in recharging costs would be a boon to e-scooter operators.
Some cities, in order to literally corral e-scooters, have spray painted makeshift parking spots on sidewalks. The idea behind these is to encourage riders to leave the scooters in a designated space and not haphazardly strewn about the city.
While this is a fine short-term solution, it won’t suffice long-term. Swiftmile might well be the resolution to e-scooter dilemma facing cities across the country.
I have to say, though, that these sorts of stations aren’t a novel idea. We’ve seen these with shareable, rentable e-bikes for years now. Heck, even Swiftmile makes e-bike stations, too. This begs the question: why didn’t one of the e-scooter companies devise its own semi-dockless station?